What Is Living Probate?

There are two different senses in which "living probate" can be used. One definition refers to conservatorship proceedings. In some states, if someone becomes incapacitated, the court might choose a guardian or conservator who will manage the incapacitated individual's care, finances, etc. If you create a living trust, however, you could avoid having a stranger make such a massive decision for you.

The other definition of living probate, which this article will cover, refers to a process of validating your own will, a process that is available only in:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio

How to Validate Your Will Through Living Probate (Ante-Mortem Probate)

If you fear that your will is going to be challenged when you pass away, you can personally take measures to prevent that drama (in four states anyway) through ante-mortem probate. You can do this by going to probate to present your own will, making sure that the court knows you wrote your will while in sound mind, and that the will expresses your real wishes. Your first step is to a file a petition with your probate court; then notify involved parties of the hearing (state law will let you know whom to notify); and then you will need to provide proof to the hearing. You will likely have to establish that:

  • You followed state law to the letter when you created your will
  • When you made the will, you were of sound mind
  • You are not under undue influence from someone trying to take over your will

The probate court might then decide that your will is valid, and your will gets kept on file. If you want to revoke that will at some point, you can do so, just be sure to take your previous, validated will out from the court's records to avoid any mix-up.

What if you live in a different state? What about no-contest clauses? Other estate planning measures? Talk to a probate lawyer today about your options when it comes to ensuring that your wishes will be upheld, and without a stressful process.